Secretary of State at DCMS Committee

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, appeared before the DCMS Committee to discuss government support for the arts.

Issues discussed included the distribution of the Culture Recovery Fund grants, the end of the furlough scheme and possible reopening timescales.

Jon Morgan, Director at Theatres Trust responded to the DCMS Committee hearing:

As highlighted by Julian Knight MP at the DCMS Committee hearing, it is evident that the new Job Support Scheme will not prevent mass redundancies in the theatre industry. Further sector-specific support is needed: jobs in theatre are still viable and vital.

With the recent rise in infection rates and local lockdowns, we appreciate that setting a ‘not before date’ for the full reopening of theatres without social distancing is challenging. We welcome Oliver Dowden’s commitment to continuing to work with the sector to agree minimum mitigating measures that will enable theatres to safely increase capacity.

Theatres are well placed to be at the heart of the country’s recovery, providing a much-needed reason for people to visit beleaguered town centres, boosting local and night-time economies. But we need further investment in theatre from government both to ensure they survive the Covid lockdown and as part of wider infrastructure investment to protect valuable community facilities and revitalise our high streets.